Album Reviews

Ghost B.C. – Infestissumam

on April 18, 2013, 12:01am
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Metal bands have been singing about Satan since the dawn of the genre. At this point, it’s not entirely original. But what if you dress up in black pope robes, vow to remain anonymous, and then sing about Satan?

That’s what the members of Ghost B.C. did, and now they’ve got a major label contract and the ears of the entire metal community. The Swedish ensemble released its debut album in 2009 and immediately garnered a following for its occult theatrics and hyper-melodic doom metal.

Since then, they’ve gone through some lineup changes — including a “new” frontman — but sophomore album Infestissumam retains the band’s signature sound and style. This is partly because new singer Papa Emeritus II sounds exactly like Ghost’s old frontman (it’s been speculated that it’s the same person playing a new character), singing in a falsetto akin to Blue Oyster Cult’s Donald Roeser.

For all their evil posturing, Ghost are pretty tame — steady mid-tempo metal with the occasional chugging chord and solo. However, Infestissumam distinguishes itself with its multiple Satan-theme Gregorian chant passages (the album intro, for instance).

In fact, Ghost’s fixation with Our Dark Lord is ubiquitous throughout the album. And they’re so casual about it, with songs like “Depths of Satan’s Eyes” and the chunky “Body and Blood” sounding almost romantic in their devotion. The excellent “Ghuleh Zombie Queen” — a campy epic about the titular character — marks a rare change in subject matter.

They could certainly use some diversity there, as Infestissumam suffers from repetitive lyrics (they manage to have too much “hail Satan”) in addition to a noticeable lack of hooks. With its best songs — “Secular Haze” here and “Ritual” on the debut album — Ghost proves that it can be both catchy and sinister. Ghost’s sophomore effort, however, is more of a lateral movement than an improvement, and for a band whose songs rely on falsetto and choruses, the absence of memorable melodies on Infestissumam is an eternal sin.

Essential Tracks: “Secular Haze”, “Ghuleh Zombie Queen”

12 comments

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Russ Vanover
May 14, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Not memorable? That is the hookiest, catchiest record I have heard in a decade. Their sophomore is light years better then their debut. Ritual is still the catchiest song they have but Infestissumam is nothing short of brilliant. And yes Papa1 is the same person as Papa2

KingSigy
May 12, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Eh, I kind of disagree. I honestly don’t think it’s as good as the first, but I really am digging Body and Blood. It’s so fucking tame and catchy that I just love it. My friend, though, thinks Ghost just lacks a lot of production. He enjoys them and thinks the Live act is great, but he’s not so into the studio recordings.

turds mcgee
April 20, 2013 at 5:33 pm

you must not have listened to the album before writing this or something, while I wont completely praise the album even though I do enjoy it, your reasons for not liking it are almost completely unfounded and just plain false. terrible review from a terrible writer holy shit

Ruaan van der Spuy
April 20, 2013 at 1:09 pm

This review is really misguided. Falsetto? King Diamond “relies on falsetto”. I don’t really see the significance here.

Mialannahi Nelson
April 20, 2013 at 12:49 pm

“they manage to have too much “hail Satan” AHHAHAHAA. Get over yourself.

Max Flump Reinsch
April 19, 2013 at 11:04 am

The debut album was released in October 2010. Infestissumam is full to the brim with hooks. It’s also a very well made album despite the division in opinions. Cack review.

Vellllllllllll
April 18, 2013 at 5:08 pm

“a noticeable lack of hooks” did you listen to the album or just read the pitchfork review? if anything there’s to many of them

Realitysandwich
April 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Typical review from a hipster bell shiner

Liam Pesce
April 18, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Not understanding how the melodies aren’t memorable. The lyrics are repetitive due to the theme, it’s a semi-concept album about the birth of the Antichrist- what did you expect? Everyone go read the MetalSucks review instead of this one.

Guest
April 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Not understanding how the melodies aren’t memorable. The lyrics are the repetitive due to the theme, it’s a semi-concept album about the birth of the Antichrist- what did you expect? Everyone go read the MetalSucks review instead of this one.

Tony W Stewart
April 18, 2013 at 8:17 am

Okay so the reviewer doesn’t like Ghost, and gives ShellShag a glowing review! ” lack of hooks” ???? That is all I needed to discount your asinine review completely. Seriously, you believe that Ghost is becoming well known because of their Image?

Michael Fisher
April 18, 2013 at 12:17 am

This is Album is way catchier than the first one. I feel like it has a more refined sound from the previous album, and there’s definitely hooks on every song here. Sure the lyrical content is laughable but the harmonies are excellent. My vote is for both of them and hope they keep making strong releases like Infestissumam